Today it’s Time to Change and to talk about mental health. For some it’s not an easy or comfortable conversation, but it is one that needs to be had. So, today I share what makes me, me – in the hope that it helps start a conversation for you or someone you love. Please read on…

This is me, stripped of the armour and the mask that I put on every day to face the world,
Stripped of all of things that outwardly make me, me,
The bravado, the laugh and the big show of confidence, all now silent.

Why? Why expose myself so shamelessly to world?
To get my 5 minutes of fame?
Because I am vain?
No, this picture is about one thing and one thing only.
There is no confidence or arrogance or vanity here,
Because this is something so very far from comfortable that it hurts.
I am here as a challenge, to you and to me,
Because without me being naked, you would have scrolled past this post.

You need to know, you and I, we are not so different,
That beneath it all we are just skin and bone,
Bodies that show the tattoos and the memories of a life lived,
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from,
It doesn’t matter about the colour of your skin or the shape of your body,
Because we are defined by the world that we create,
By what we share and the way in which we live our lives,
To me there is nothing more important or valuable in this world than what makes you, you.

So to get back to the point of this picture,

It is here forever immortalised as a reminder
That it is ok not to be ok,
That we all have hopes and fears, for us and for those we love,
But, for some the worst of them are so very loud that fear we will lose hope,
That we bear the scars of many battles fought against an invisible enemy.
Those battles leave our skin bruised, cut and lined
And it is the deepest of these that the world will never see.
We fear that this ache, felt so deep in our souls, will never leave us,
An ache that feeds and grows on our doubts, whether perceived or real,
That we know that the sweet comfort of sleep will not come,
Because it is those fears and those doubts that seek to rule the night,
That we fear that we will never have the strength to remove this armour,
That those around us will never truly know us,
Because how can we possibly share how we really feel?
Because we are scared, scared that we are broken and cannot be repaired,
Because we fear that we will always be alone, a voice unheard and a shoulder untouched
Not because there is no one there, but because we cannot talk,
A burden never shared,
A burden never heard…

…and that is my point – we have to be brave, not just today but every day – because it’s time to change,

Time to talk,
Time to listen,
Time to be you,
Time to share what makes you, YOU.

Because whether you see it or not, you are amazing, individual, unique, special and wonderful,
Because you have a strength inside you, far greater than you believe,
Because when you start that much needed conversation you will find that you have the will, the energy and the power to live a life that you love,

And maybe, just maybe, that conversation will give someone else the power to continue, to strive not just survive.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, Guy x

Please, if you’re struggling with your mental health and you need support;

– Talk to a friend or family member – do not underestimate the power of a conversation

– Speak to a professional – make an appointment with your GP or contact one of the amazing support services we have here in the UK;

Contact the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393

Contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK)

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